Sunday, December 9, 2012

the song of the stars

The Grinch, Lynchburg, VA

a white paint bucket, one of the big ones, a few gallons at least sits on the sidewalk, concrete chipped from all the foot traffic in & out the doors.

inside all the shops are hopping, a hundred, a thousand bodies Christmas shopping---a teddy bear, new game, clothing, whatever the next big thing is this year.

'can we just go already' or resignation is a delicate balance. an old man on a bench, eyes closed & snoring bass, a couple kids ready to tickle his nose or another mischief, it's in their eyes. Bags & bags & bags, with shop names in bold.

back outside, it's in the high forties. the bread bakery is cooking by the taste of the air & by the white paint bucket a girl, maybe ten, in jeans and a holiday sweatshirt plays her cello. in black magic marker block letters, HELP THE HOMELESS.

maybe the old man is her father, she's been at it over an hour at least since we arrived & as we go. her sweet, sweet music works like an IV tapped in vein, it mourns and moves, increases heart beats & change clatters on the bard plastic bottom, muffled by dollar bills.

she nods & plays on, her fingers must hurt but she plays. what is it she's seen that makes her, play on & sets her apart?

across the asphalt, white line by white line and even after the car door closes, out the lot and even now on the couch typing this in the tree lights, my boys tucked warm in their beds and my wife snuggled beside me reading, her music kneads my heart like a cat flexing its paws, claws catching in the material.

a Christmas card to any who will listen.

56 comments:

Helen said...

You made it easy to see the shoppers, hear the music, smell the bread, feel the peace of home.

Myrna R. said...

I like all of this, especially the impression the girl's music made on your soul.

Always enjoy reading your thoughts. Happy Sunday Brian.

Pat Hatt said...

A shopping experience brought to life
Even though much of it brings me strife
All the hussle to and fro
Just to get the next big then according to some dippy dough
Can be fun to gawk
As long as one doesn't have far to walk

happygirl said...

How come I adore the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Then I go home and ponder the reason for the season. Thanks for painting this word picture.

Gloria said...

Have a nice Sunday Brian!

Janice said...

Nice. You've perfectly captured the many moods of the season.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This piece perfectly described the scene in the local mall here on any given Saturday in December :)

Susan said...

Music as cat makes purrrfect sense to me! She plays through the hustle and bustle and her painful fingers and her old man's snoring and the distance and thickness into hearts and homes (for the homeless or for joy) and under the skin. Thanks for the card!

Claudia said...

oh i love cello music, it's so close to the human voice said someone once that it touches us on a different level.. so cool that she played for the homeless with such tireless energy..makes the music even more beautiful..

Daydreamertoo said...

Oh goodness, I hate shopping at the best of times, Christmas shopping when there are hundreds or thousands would not be any place I would ever put myself...lol
The girl's music must have really reached in and grabbed your heart. It sounds as if it was lovely.

Gail said...

"her sweet, sweet music works like an IV tapped in vein, it mourns and moves"

"her music kneads my heart like a cat flexing its paws, claws catching in the material"

Your words capture the essence of this scene and I hear her music! Mournfully beautiful.

Secret Agent Woman said...

The little cello-playing girl image is both sweet and sad.

Just catching up - you are insanely prolific!

Tara Miller said...

What has she seen, indeed. Something always tugs at my heart when seeing their innocent faces. Her story and those around her, makes me wonder?

CiCi said...

I admire the little girl playing with pride, sharing her talent as a gift to all.

Alice Audrey said...

The cello player catches my attention in all the hustle and bustle. I'd love to see what she'd seen - from a distance.

manicddaily said...

Very pretty piece. Thanks, Brian. k.

Leovi said...

Yes, a complete picture of Christmas with a white line separating both sides.

Laurie Kolp said...

A wonderful mood here, brian... especially love the ending.

Grandmother said...

Music bypasses all else and goes straight to the soul. It resonated there for you and then you shared it with us. Bless you, bless that young girl.

Monkey said...

he music,the shoppers, the sense that all will work out in the end...love this time of yr, and you captured it to perfection :)

Jenny Woolf said...

I like the simile of the claws catching at the material as a cat kneads. Sometimes music does that.

Mary said...

Brian, you have brought the scene and the season to life! And a Christmas card back to YOU as well.

farawayinthesunshine said...

She played for the forgotten, the ones on the sidelines...

Maggie May said...

Your description was magnificent.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Smiles --this brought me smiles--there is a wonderful video making its way around Facebook among my musical friends--about people making instruments out of garbage in South America---music saves us all

Jennifer Dougan said...

"her music kneads my heart"

Thanks, Brian.

Always worth stopping by here.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

Victoria said...

Wow, Brian. At first I thought it was going to be about Christmas shopping and then you take that powerful turn to homelessness and about blow me away. This is so strong, so well crafted, too. Needs to be put out there.

A Cuban In London said...

Ahhh... I'm still with that cello, man. You left me with that cello. Tell you what, I'm taking out my Yo Yo Ma CD in a minute! :-)

Greetings from London.

Jen said...

I wish I could give her some change. I hope her talent carries her places far away from the ugly side of life.

She Writes said...

her music kneads my heart

beautiful you two.

flaubert said...

Brian, you paint a very vivid picture of the shoppers. I hate crowded malls. Your ending gives a lovely closure to what life is really all about. Nice.

Pamela

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

She would smile knowing that you savored it.

Pat said...

You have brought the scene to life. It makes me wonder if indeed the two were homeless and she was earning money for their food for the day.

DJan said...

This is a true gift, Brian. I was there with you and felt her music within me, too. Thank you.

otin said...

Ahh..The power of music moves us all.

Betty said...

Music especially this time of the year is soul soothing. It amazes me the young lady could keep her mind focus with all the crowds. Good post.

Marie Nicole said...

You really set the pace nicely here. Loved sensing the girl and her cello...

Daniel said...

That kind of gets me right in the heart.

Heaven said...

I just came from mall and it was all about bags and bags. I specially like how you captured the little girl, playing the cello, her sweet music mourning and moving.

Even at night, the notes moves you, amidst the warmth of your family, you listen and hear the notes ~

Happy Sunday Brian ~

Annmarie Pipa said...

hard for even the hard hearted to walk past and not wonder why.

mrs mediocrity said...

This is so beautifully written, and it does make you wonder... But hearing stories like this always makes my heart sing with hope.

Other Mary said...

What a bitter-sweet, poignant write Brian. Merry Christmas to you and yours...and to everyone I hope.

^.^ said...

Lovely piece, B ... sad too ... I always give what I can ... Noticed in Europe, beggars are not allowed to ask, so they just sit there. I gave them money, giftcards, sandwiches, smokes ... until I had "only" smiles left.

Mama Zen said...

This is such rich, descriptive writing. Love this, Brian.

Timoteo said...

Haunting. Through all the materialism, a sweeter music shines through.

kaykuala said...

It's nearly the same when comes to Christmas shopping.Even over here. The big crowd inside and peddlers those like the little girl outside. Just to be with the crowd is fun but exhausting.The fun is to see new products being offered. Nicely Brian!

Hank
P/S Apologies! Was on the move last weekend. Late to respond to most comments. Only hit and run!

Me said...

I'd love to have heard her play. And I hope that somehow she knows the gifts she shared today.

Eva Gallant said...

You portrayed the scene beautifully; I can smell the bread and hear the music.

Lorraine said...

and to complete you wonderful ending I'm sending snow, lots of it, are you sure you want it? :)

Dave King said...

Great write, this. I do greatly appreciate the voice you give to your streams of consciousness. It is always so exactly right.

For me this passage stood out:

her sweet, sweet music works like an IV tapped in vein, it mourns and moves, increases heart beats & change clatters on the bard plastic bottom, muffled by dollar bills.

RMP said...

you definitely have a knack for making a scene come to life. I really like the last line.

Valerie said...

Whatever the girl's motive, just listening to her playing wonderful music was enough to capture my attention. I love the Christmas scenes, all of them.

JANU said...

Very vivid, maybe if you knew how to...then you would write that music too :)

Kathe W. said...

your writing is so visual and observant- especially like this line:
her music kneads my heart like a cat flexing its paws, claws catching in the material.

Syd said...

Reminds me of that old Joni Mitchell tune about playing real good for free.

Sue said...

It is a Christmas card. And it reminds me of Joni Mitchell, too.

And Chicago, when I lived there.

=)